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Talking High Speed Rail with John Porcari

An Italian American Community roundtable with U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari was held at the Massachusetts State House on May 20, as the government continues its lobbying efforts to convince communities across the country that high-speed rail is vital to the country’s growth.

From left to right: Ambassador George Bruno, Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, Frank Gioioso of P. Gioioso & Sons, Inc. - Photo by ©Nicola Orichuia

“A better transportation system is at the heart of economic development,” said Porcari, who is a fourth generation Italian American himself. “The President has called for greater spending in transportation and high speed rail.”

Attending the meeting were several interest groups, as well as private contractors, from across New England who came to Boston to listen to the government’s plans for the region. Porcari assured that the government is looking to cooperate with the state of Massachusetts on “improvements to the existing system.”

“What you will see in the next three to ten years are city couplings,” said Porcari. The key issue remains convincing the public, he added. “Taking a train from Boston to New York is never going to be cheaper than taking the bus.”

John Porcari is third generation Italian American. His great-grandfather Angelo Porcari landed in Hoboken, NJ in 1884, penniless but literate, and got a job as a timekeeper for the Italian laborers on the NY Central Railroad. He settled in Buffalo with his wife Nicoletta Scarfidi.

Before becoming Deputy Secretary, Deputy Secretary Porcari served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation since January 2007, a position he also held between 1999 and 2003. As MDDOT Secretary, Deputy Secretary Porcari was responsible for an integrated, multi-modal, statewide transportation system that included highways, the Port of Baltimore, Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, a statewide general aviation system, Maryland’s toll authority, and its Motor Vehicle Administration.

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